It was back in 2015, when Ashley Donahue set out on a goal; a goal to pursue her passion for building reputations and revenues through business development marketing strategies. Today, her company, Orange Door Consulting, is known in the consulting circuit as one of the top rated Consulting agencies.
She has been renowned as a strategic leader and has earned a reputation for consulting a vast pool of clients, which includes start ups as well. Her innate understanding of consumer influence and her willingness to drive profits for her clients has made her stand out as true inspiration as a businesswoman.
Women On Topp Magazine caught up with this Inspiring leader in an exclusive interview. In the interview she highlights her journey, her beliefs, and her idea of a leader.
What inspired you to start Orange Door Consulting?
I started Orange Door Consulting because I was doing many side projects in assisting companies and raising capital for many different projects. It was a leap being only 26 and recommending that I could consult people and their businesses but I truly felt I had the capability to assist starter companies, evolving companies and get developments off the ground.
In your own words, what do you do?
I help starter companies or companies struggling with infrastructure to get organized and put structure in place so everyone can be successful. When beginning with a new company I will do things as small as data entry or as big as discussing what issues have been with current clients and finding resolutions to help the company long term.
I also assist new developments projects in finding the right people to be involved in the up and coming capital raise as well as assisting in adding to the team that I think could be beneficial for all parties.
How has it evolved during the pandemic?
It has grown wildly. I feel like during the pandemic so many people actually had the time to reevaluate everything they had been doing and if it was truly what they wanted to continue pursuing. With the time to do that a lot of new businesses arose and new projects that people were so scared to take the risk of doing began following through with them.
But, I have also taken a hit as well. Being in the new development realm three of the projects I was working on were supposed to come to fruition weeks before quarantine happened and investors backed out, understandably. Starting over and taking those hits most definitely hurt, but it only made me and my partners ready and more prepared for when things started to come back again.
Can you describe your clients of Orange Door Consulting?
Cliental of Orange Door Consulting ranges from new tech startups, real estate development and even to the music industry. I have worked quite a bit with the telecommunications companies and was actually my first clients here in New York. I have and still am working with many different clients inside of the entertainment industry. I have learned that within business and business development the one thing no matter the industry or realm that you are in, the structure is always going to be needed and this has made me be able to learn and help so many industries.
What is the one technology trend within your industry that cannot be ignored?
Social media, without a doubt. I have worked with many companies that didn’t have any social platforms and within weeks saw such an impact. I grew up in the ’90s (yes, millennial baby, lol) and that didn’t even exist, so I work with many clients whose customer base has been solely word of mouth and although it seems stressful at first I genuinely think that these platforms have created so many ways for great companies to be known not only nationally but globally.
What else should we know about you? What sets you apart from the competition?
I think the thing that sets me apart is my resilience and ability to have the attitude of “no job is too small”. Coming from the midwest it has always been ingrained in me to work until the job is done and do whatever it takes to do so. It has never bothered me to work longer hours or take later phone calls if it is going to help the betterment of the job for everyone.
What has been your biggest milestone/achievement so far?
I think my biggest achievement was when my consulting starting paying me more than my salary job. It was such a big milestone for me that something I had created on my own was not only coming to fruition but becoming profitable for me and all the companies I had been assisting.
What are the mistakes people make while running a new business?
Surrounding yourself with the right people and cutting corners. Starting in the construction industry and being in charge of large, strict budgets I learned this quickly. Sometimes there would be contractors that cost more but finished in half the time or there was the person doing it half the price and double the time, it made me really analyze what was worth skimming and risking. And, one of the first things I was taught by my father was to surround yourself with people who know what the hell they are talking about, it won’t only make you grow but it will give you the constructive criticism your businesses need to be successful.
How do you keep yourself updated? What are some of the websites or magazines or apps that you subscribe to or read regularly?
My favorite quick go-to is every morning I read the Forbes Daily Dozen. It is quick and keeps me in the loop! I also listen to quite a few podcasts including anything Brene Brown. As for just personally, I also keep up on my Vogue and read as much as I can from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club.
Tell me about what you’re working on now.
Currently, I am mainly focused on helping grow a new streaming platform here in New York, new developments on the east coast and the two new companies I have acquired as clientele to assist their growth in the technology world. There is so much new exciting stuff going on!
What marketing strategies have not worked for you and you would like to share with people?
I have tried so many new things with some of my current clients, and I must admit that email blasts, although they are good in theory have not impressed me as much as they used to. I think that people have so many different messaging outlets that anything even possibly spams across their email is just an automatic no for them.
What are your current goals?
My goals as of right now are to continue growing my cliental and getting a grander scape of my development portfolio. With a certification in interior design, although I don’t do the groundwork tactically like I used to, a big part of my heart will always lie in development.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I think the best advice I’ve received from my father and mentors, all telling me this not knowing the other would also tell me, but “They can’t eat you”. I think this means so many different things. Being a woman in business it is so natural to feel nervous or inferior in big conference rooms or backroom dinners but this saying always reminds me they are just people too and to believe in yourself. Anytime before a big meeting, before starting a large project or interviewing and I am nervous this saying always brings me a little bit back down to earth.
Share two advice for female entrepreneurs.
- Educate yourself on things you don’t know or understand.
- Tell yourself, you can do hard things because you can.